Best Rifle/Caliber for North American Hunting?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by epijunkie67, Feb 20, 2011.

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  1. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Member

    Apr 21, 2004
    East TN
    Wow. Just... Wow.

    I figured there would be a huge number of possible contenders for this question. To see an almost unanimous list of suggestions for the 30-06 kind of impresses me. I've never owned a 30-06 before but I might have to seriously look at one now.
  2. CaliCoastie

    CaliCoastie Member

    Jun 24, 2010
    you like levers? marlin 1895 in 45-70, you can take anything around. plus i like levers also and this is on my list.
  3. Dr T

    Dr T Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Colorado and West Texas
    I would also opt for 30-06.

    The 270 Win, 308, 280 Rem, and 7-08 (in no particular order) are second, third, fourth and fifth.
  4. dmazur

    dmazur Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    Pacific NW
    Lookit all the .30-06 recommendations...

    I suppose I can say that the rifle itself can be versatile as well as the cartridge. Or it can be more special-purpose. So, if you're looking for versatility, I wouldn't set up a 28" barrel target rifle in .30-06, but stick with the traditional 22" sporter weight barrel.

    One of the better rifles available is a Tikka (or Sako if you have more $$). Lots of good things said about Savage as well. Winchester M70's are once again available, and these are also good. These are all bolt-action.

    Any decent 3-9X scope will make a good pair. I have had good luck with Leupold and Zeiss, but I've heard the Nikons and Redfields are OK, too.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  5. CowboyTim

    CowboyTim Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    Cazenovia, WI
    .270 my personal choice but 30-06, .308 would also do the job quite well...and how about a little love for the 300 Savage or the 8x57 and 7x57 Mauser?
  6. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    I'll say 30-06 but I'll switch it up and say. M1 garand
  7. Dalgo

    Dalgo Member

    Feb 21, 2011
    NE PA (Moscow area)
    Man, we do love our .30's in America, especially the .30-06. It is a great caliber. My anchor gun is a Browning A-Bolt, stainless stalker in that caliber, with a nikon 3-9. Been a great game getter for me. I guess it gets my vote, too. Growing up used a 7mm x 64, which is the same as a .280. That was pretty great, too. For many years of my life I used a .270. Good caliber also. This year, I acquired a TC Encore platform in 7mm-08. Put a Zeiss Conquest 3-9 on it. Will be my big game slayer. I also use, .45-70, .223, .375, and am ponderin' a .300 H&H. Isn't it fun to have choices?! But only one gun for everything? Tough. 35 Whelen is a thought. I think, though my vote for a one and only would still be the good ole .30-06. Just can't go wrong. On what platform? Most likely a bolt, weatherized, composite stock of somekind, and maybe a 2.5-10, or 3-9 scope. Wow, is that middle of the road, or what? It will get the job done everywhere in America, for just about everything. JMHO. Pierre.
  8. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 28, 2003

    Don't you guys know anything? The .30-06 is over a hundred years old which makes it obsolete and useless.. Which is why you NEED a Super Short Ultra Mag in a .396 caliber rifle using a lit automatic range finding 1.5 X45 power scope. Built by "Hans Von Overpricemitgeschizenguns" Rifles only.

    Don't you guys read the gun mags??


    The 06 or something close will do anything you need it to. The last elk I killed with an 06 took three steps before collapsing and tumbling down a steep Colorado avalanche shoot. I killed her at 233 Yards the bullet a 180 gr Barnes TSX entered just behind the on shoulder and exited the off shoulder after breaking the large joint between the scapula and the humorous.

    My daughter killed her first elk several years ago with her .308 and my baby girl killed her first elk this year with her .30-06. Neither of those elk felt that the hunters were under gunned.

    The 06 is always a good choice. I like it better than the .270 due to the increased bullet selection and heavy weight bullets available for the .30 cals. If however I was told that the only rifle I'd be able to hunt with for the rest of my life was a .270 I wouldn't be shedding any tears.

    Some .30-06/.308 elk kill pictures.



  9. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Kalif Kollective
    .308 prolly? I got most of these covered a few times over. But if I was stuck with just one round - it'd be my Savage 99E in .308 with its current Nikon Scope. Will do about all there is to do. 06 in the same weight gun pounds a bit harder and does not get more meat, I don't think?
  10. elktrout

    elktrout Member

    Nov 2, 2008
    Last November I was on a guided pheasant hunt in Kansas with a great outfitter who is also an avid big game hunter. At the end of the day, he showed us his trophy building. Yes, a building. Not a room. It had all his mounted heads, skins, etc from numerous big game hunts in North America and Africa.

    I asked the usual question of which rifle(s) he used. His reply was that he used a .375 H&H for cape buffalo, elephant, rhinos, etc. What he called "the big stuff". All the others he killed with a 30-06, including African plains animals and elk, moose, and bear here on our continent.


    HOLY DIVER Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    ok whats its gonna be? lol let us know when u decide on a caliber/rifle
  12. Nasty Ned

    Nasty Ned Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    Mountains of Western N.C.
    I want in this one...!

    First, let me agree with so many of the other folks, you will never go wrong with a 30-06. However, if you reload please take a strong look at the 444 Marlin. If you like lever actions, you will never be under gunned in the US of A with this caliber. You can have 240 gr. thru 405 gr bullets to do about anything you want including big bears.
  13. george d dennis

    george d dennis Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Baltic ct
  14. welldoya

    welldoya Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    I know it's redundant but 30/06. Then .270, .308, .280 and 7mm/08 in that order.
  15. christcorp

    christcorp Member

    May 18, 2007
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
    I've hunted the brush of east texas and the hills; the pines in new jersey; the open plains of the midwest; and the rockies of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Plinked at prairie dogs, to antelope, white tail, javelina, mule deer, elk, moose, big horn sheep, and mountain goat.

    If I was only allowed one rifle/caliber for the 100 yards to 400+ yards; it would be the 7mm Remington Magnum. Not dogging the 30-06. I own one. It's a great caliber. But the 7mm magnum in my opinion is simply better. None of the animals in north america require a 200+ grain bullet. Elk and moose can easily be taken with 175 grain from the 7mm mag. Prairie dog, coyotes, cats, etc... can be taken care of with a 110 grain. 140 grain will take care of any of the medium game as well as many of the very long shots. I use the 160 grain for deer.

    Point is; there isn't one animal on the continent that the 7mm magnum can't take down; and at pretty much any distance the shooter can shoot. The 30-06 is a great caliber, but it loses it's edge when it comes to the long range shots. If you don't do such long range shots, 400+ yards, then the 30-06 is great. But for me, I'll take the 7mm magnum. I don't know of any game that needs the extra weight of a 220 grain 30-06 bullet. Yes, there is a large range of bullets for the 30-06, but I just don't need that many. I can safely and humanely take anything in north america with a 7mm magnum, and either the 110, 140, 150, 160, or 175 grain bullets. Why would I need more?
  16. RonE

    RonE Member

    Aug 19, 2007
    Rockport, Texas
    Probably the best is something between .264 and .338 that shoots a modern smokless powder cartridge and most importantly, something you personally feel compent and comfortable with. Yes, you can load up and you can load down but start with something you can buy across the counter wherever you go and if you want more, then start reloading.
  17. eowwarrior

    eowwarrior Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Depends upon what you mean by North America ...

    For Northwestern Canada and Alaska I prefer the 375 H&H.

    If you mean the 48 lower states, only one answer 7mm Rem. Mag.

    If I was forced to choose only one, no contest 375 H&H.

    Good luck.
  18. snake284

    snake284 Member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Texas Coast
    In my opinion, every serious rifleman and hunter should have at least one 30-06. Also they should have at least one .270 Winchester. After that it's a toss up. There's a lot of great cartridges out there. But the 30-06 and 270 will do it all. And throw in a good 22-250, .223, or a .243-6mm and you have covered all your bases in North America.
  19. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    IMO a 7mm mag,300 mag,30-06, 280 or 270. One of those 5 is best do all rifle. There are others but these are the most versatile. I'm leaving the short actions out (excluding short mags) because they don't have the knock down power out at distance the long actions do. I left the short mags out because of the heavy for caliber bullet selections that are hard to find.
  20. D*N*R*

    D*N*R* Member

    Dec 15, 2010
    drank the coolaid
  21. FLNT4EVR

    FLNT4EVR Member

    May 28, 2009
    up state NY
    Everyone has their favorites.Mine is the 6.5x55 Swede. Great BC,accurate,and with recoil anyone can handle.Comes in some very fine looking rifles also.
  22. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    .22 LR? It's taken everything.

    All around, right? Rabbit, squirrel, woodchuck, raccoon don't need a .30-06. There's only a few species that need 1000 foot pounds of power out to 400m. Deer, bear, hog, antelope, sheep, and elk are about it. That is actually a limited group of trophy animals, and they won't put much meat in the pot on the annual basis. Like as not, small game is the major source.

    That means you want something a lot smaller for the majority of the actual game you will be shooting, with enough power to take down the rare and occasional larger animal you might stumble across. Since the .270 bullet can do that, put it in a case short enough to feed from a magazine. Self loading guns are far superior to getting shots off a small quarry moving through ground cover, and intermediate calibers don't punish the shooter, use up as much powder, and have quicker sight realignment after a shot.

    The recommendation I'm making will get no appreciation in this thread, but here it is: best ALL AROUND for North America would be an AR15 in 6.8SPC.

    Tried the .30-06 scoped bolt, tried the .30-30 lever (my Second choice,) moving to the future, not living in the past.

    I have no problem with someone suggesting the 6.5 Grendel, but the OP said no 600m shots, right? :p
  23. Old Time Hunter

    Old Time Hunter Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    Hinterlands of Wisconsin
    Well everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter how wrong it is, but since mine is the only one that counts. Therefore, the '94 Winchester Timber Carbine chambered for the .444 Marlin cartridge can be utilized on ALL North American game, from squirrels to polar bears depending on how you load it.
  24. 6.5swede

    6.5swede Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    If you're thinking about the most popular American calibers, the 270,308,and 30-06 all work well for non dangerous cpx2 and cpx3 game with appropriate bullets/load development. There's something to be said for the 2 rifle battery with some overlap such as the 270 and 30-06, i.e. the 270 setup to shoot 130gr bullets for cpx2 game and the 30-06 setup with 180gr bullets for cpx3 game. I found a link to a nice review by Chuck Hawks that I read sometime ago addressing this topic, www.chuckhawks.com/perfect_pair.htm

    I've also become a big fan of the 6.5x55 and 7x57.
  25. snakeman

    snakeman Member

    May 20, 2008
    308, 30-06, 338 federal, 8mm mauser, 7mm rem mag, 270 wsm 300 wsm. My personal favorite is 308.
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